Peeks From The Past



Grinding Chop 
(as recalled by Alfred Gerwing) 

Besides hay, most farmyard raised livestock cattle, sheep and hogs required grain to meet their enegy requirements. The grain seeds, usually barley, oats or wheat was mechanically ground to make it more readily digestible to the animals. The machine used to grind the grain was called a grinder. It consited of  corrugated rotating metal plates that quickly broke down the grain kernels into a powdery substance commonly called chop.

 The grinder  was located in a small granary known as the chop bin. Power for the operation was supplied by a tractor equipped with a belt pulley. The power was delivered from the tractor's pulley to the grinder by a long flat belt that passed through a small opening in the wall of the chop bin. Alfred and Herman were handling the grain and piling the freshly ground chop. Aloys' job was to keep the temperamental old tractor running. Its fuel pump had ceased to work some years previous and it needed a constant supply of gasoline added to its carburetor. 

When the last of the grain had passed through the chopper Alfred & Herman signalled for Aloys to shut off the tractor. Aloys, who was not familiar with the tractor, quickly pulled a lever. The tractor bolted backwards. He had inadvertently pulled the hand clutch which resulted in a backward motion since the tractor had been left in reverse gear. The tractor pulled the belt very tight causing the grinder to come loose from its mountings and smash through the wall of the chop bin. Fortunately there was no damage to the sturdily built chopper. So after a few hours work on the chop bin wall everything was good as new!

Note: The above photo was taken on another chop grinding day. Pictured L. to R. are: Joseph Gerwing Sr., Alfred Gerwing, and Herman Gerwing.


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